Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gunners Falls Short, Winning Mentality Questioned Again

Arsene Wenger, after the draw against Spurs, vehemently denied that his Arsenal boys do not have a winning mentality. Always fighting, he is developing a siege mentality within Arsenal which may prove detrimental to their already fading season. Remonstrating with referees, ungracious in defeat or draw and a stubbornness to accept that his Gunners team are anything but world beaters has been the theme of this season's title challenge.

In his calmness, Arsene Wenger points to the fact that Arsenal is unbeaten since the turn of the year, and that means they are on a 16-match unbeaten run. If that is the case, then Arsenal should be top of the Premier League by now and not slipped down to third in the standings. In a season without any dominating force, Arsenal have been the team with most consistency. And yet, they look like a team with questions frequently asked about their fragility.

Premier League Young Player Best XI

Congratulations to Jack Wilshere and Gareth Bale for being voted PFA Young Player and Player of The Year respectively. Funnily, there is no Liverpool representative in the PFA Team of The Year although I would have put Reina (probably on sentiment) above Edwin Van der Sar.

Here's my best eleven of Premier League young players.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rash Eboue Challenge Ends Arsenal Title Charge

Prior to the match against Liverpool, Arsenal had a run up as difficult as is conceivably possible. Liverpool, Spurs, Bolton and Manchester United are a very tough set of fixtures for any aspiring title contenders. For a team as fragile as Arsenal, this looks a very daunting task. And their crucial title run-in crashed against Liverpool. Once more, Arsenal lacked the ability to deliver when needed. This draw, where both goals were scored in injury time, meant that Arsenal is psychologically out of the title race.

In the wake of this disappointing result, Andrew Weber from Arsenalblog started out by talking about how Arsenal seemed to be a master at throwing away leads this season. Emmanuel  Eboue did clatter into Lucas and it was a rightful penalty. In the end, Liverpool got a point from a match that they did not deserve to lose. Their brilliant defensive display alone, even with Krygiakos and Skrtel as the central defensive pairing, deserved a point.

This remarkable match had Liverpool finish the match with four Academy players, following injuries to Carroll, Aurelio and Carrragher. Performances from Jack Robinson, John Flanagan (who started), Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing has Nate from ohyoubeauty gushing positively at the future of Liverpool. He sees great things happening at Liverpool with the youngsters that are being blooded by Dalglish. It's hard to argue with him when these youngsters show that much composure in such a high pressure situation.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Arsenal-Liverpool Preview: The Forgotten Duo

It was Liverpool's best season since the start of the Premier League. A season which saw Liverpool scored the most goals and lost the least games but yet could not win the Premiership title.

But the Reds under Rafa Benitez gave us some wonderful moments with last minute winners and high scoring games. One of the most memorable game from that season came for the Anfield April 2009 match against Arsenal. The result? Liverpool 4 Arsenal 4.

Two of the players who starred at that match are now looking pale shadows of their old self. Fernando Torres and Andrei Arshavin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Celebratory Camera Kiss

What's with footballers these days? Steven Gerrard started it by kissing the camera when overwhelmed by the emotion of scoring a goal against long time rivals Manchester United. Suddenly, every footballer worth his salt could be seen planting his smackers against a camera as a celebratory move.

I am all for it, I love it. Here are Mark Noble and Scott Parker kissing the camera in response to scoring goals for West Ham United.

Liverpool's Andy Carroll Off The Blocks!

Andy Carroll finally proved his worth to Liverpool against Manchester City on Monday night. In his fourth full game for the Reds, the giant Geordie scored two brilliant goals underlining his potential and ability as a big-game player. The goals showcased Carroll's talents and strengths, a lethally accurate left foot and superb heading ability. I have not forgotten that powerful shot he scored from against Dalglish's Reds at St. James Park in December last year.

Carroll was frightening in the first half when the damage was done. Manchester City was left shell-shocked by the early onslaught from Liverpool and could not keep pace with the Reds. Unlike against West Brom away, Liverpool swarmed forward at every opportunity, Meireles, Spearing and Kuyt were taking up good positions at the edge of the box to keep the pressure on City. That pressure kept City on the back foot and helped Liverpool maintain the upper hand.

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